Community stories: Rosie Buxton
Continuing a series hearing from Church-Related Community Workers, Rosie Buxton tells the story of creating financial inclusion in Huddersfield
Church-related community work (CRCW) is about meeting people in whatever their situation and enabling networks to develop. Church-Related Community Workers are all very different, in very different projects. What we have in common is that we are professionally trained as well as theologically educated, so we don’t only have relationships with churches, we work professionally in community development. That’s very important. If we just meant well but were not being properly trained, we could do a lot of damage.
What people value is my independence. I can work with the charity sector, with the local authority, with community groups, with challenging youngsters. At the moment I’m chairing a group called Dalton Together, which is about local people being responsible for local services. Local people, community groups, professionals, schools and local businesses all come together under that umbrella. It was just about to be launched when Covid happened, so we’ve had to adapt, but it’s been extremely successful, because it was local and people trusted it.
In the summer, we gave 960 meals out in six weeks, two days a week, packaged and ready to heat up, to people who couldn’t afford food. There were people who had been furloughed, families who’d just been put on universal credit, adolescents who had been asked to leave their homes. A local charity ran it on a Tuesday and a local business on a Thursday, so it enabled the charity to bring its cooks back from furlough and helped the business to function better as well. It’s about that kind of inventiveness in the way we think. We started with just feeding youngsters, but when people came and talked to us we realised it was much wider. Because we are not an authority, we can react and adapt quickly. So we were able to do an awful lot for quite a lot of people….
Rosie Buxton is a Church-Related Community Work minister at Moldgreen, Waverley and Brackenhall United Reformed churches, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. She was talking to Stephen Tomkins
This is an extract from an article published in the December 2020 / January 2021 edition of Reform